At 10 p.m., Transit Lounge was relatively empty for a Spam Allstars show. The patio stage sat empty in front of the street art laden walls. Gear was set up on the stage inside, including a familiar Moog and Orange half stack, but the band was nowhere. Folks dropped in little by little and by the time Spam took the stage, there was a crowd itching to get down.
The Spam Allstars got going at 11:30 p.m. They pulled out some interesting stops, too. They performed a Spammed out version of “El Macinero,” and a short break with Peter Tosh’s “Legalize It.”
There was a good string of reggae-styled tunes, with singer/timbalero Tomas Diaz spitting some ragga-style spanglish passages, including shouts to Heili Silasi and cries of “Jah Rastafari.”
Spam took a break after about a half hour. When they stopped, Dopapod switched on inside.
Dopapod threw down some nasty tunes. An all-instrumental set featured some serious chops from each of the four players. The first set was short, about half an hour long, and consisted of entirely new material, most of which will be featured on their upcoming second album, “Drawn Onward,” due out this summer. The only tune not part of the new album was the set closer, “Blast,” because it was written only a week and a half ago.
“It’s still a baby,” said guitarist Rob Compa.
For only having been around for three and a half years, Dopapod has managed to garner attention through relentless touring for the past year and a half. This is their fourth visit to Florida, but breaking out in Miami has been no easy task.
“In the towns outside Miami [the music] crushes,” said organist Eli Winderman. “In Miami it’s a little tougher.” A couple minutes later, a man in a red shirt walks by and recognizes the players.
“Spam better pick it up or you guys are going to take the show!” he said. It looked like Dopapod was finally making it happen in Miami.
The Spam Allstars took the stage again for another set of dubbed out descarga. Folks were grooving as they always do when Spam throws down. The band closed out their last set with their iconic show-closer, “La Vida Continua.”
This is when things got really nasty.
Dopapod took the stage once more for a full set, letting their complete repertoire shine. This time, they were joined by Spam Allstars flutist, Mercedes Abal and saxophonist A.J. Hill for a jam. The guest players nicely complemented the funky vamp.
It’s hard to really absorb Dopapod’s music from a short set. To catch how far across the spectrum their jams span, you’d have to listen for at least about an hour. Lucky for us, they played until three in the morning, crossing genres left and right from jammy funk to touches of dubstep. The instrumental work was mind-blowing. Perfectly synchronized organ and guitar runs, maddening guitar solos and ridiculous sounds coming from Winderman’s Moog synthesizer worked those that stayed into a dancing frenzy. These guys were tight.
My advice to my readers is to try and catch them if they’re ever in your neck of the woods. They’re always on the road, so there will be an opportunity. As for festival appearances, they’ll be playing guerilla sets at Bonnaroo and a legit set at this year’s Bear Creek Festival.
Check them out, people. Just be prepared for some serious shit.